Monday, 12 March 2012

What I think About When I Think About Writing

I love cinema and don’t know half as much as I’d like to about this fascinating medium. One feature that cinema does have over books is the use of soundtrack to create mood. Mark Charan Newton has posted a couple of times on this subject HERE and HERE, but I wanted to post up some of my favourites.

Music is incredibly important for adding resonance of feeling to film, so why not try and capture some of that alchemy when writing? Any piece of music with lyrics is disqualified as my brain will instantly seize upon them. Film soundtracks are perfect for this reason, but ambient, electronic and drone are great too.

Nest – Retold

This album is a touchstone for me, not just when writing, but reading too, or gazing out of rain-streaked bus windows. It’s also perfect company for bouts of insomnia. Retold manages to be sinister (Marefjellet) and minimal (Amroth) whilst displaying motes of hope and a wistful nostalgia (Charlotte).

This album is in no way intrusive, but simply oozes from the speakers with a stately menace and gently repeated piano motifs. You can listen to it on Soundcloud for free too.

Recommended tracks: Kyoto, Wheatstone.

The Sight Below – Various

Even more abstract than Nest is The Sight Below, a one-man outfit from Canada. Much of Glider and the No Place For Us EP features a simple metronome bass sound that can feel a little uninspiring, but the beat simply provides a structure for the ethereal soundscape to hang on. Samples of distorted reverb guitar wash up in endless, drowsy waves. There’s a urgent yet nocturnal feel to this music; perfect for getting in the zone and drawing chapters out of the aether.

Recommended tracks: Dour, Twice Failed, Already There.

James Newton Howard & Hans Zimmer – Batman Begins

I know many people will sing the praises of The Dark Knight,  but the less frenetic Batman Begins soundtrack has a good deal more creeping dread than the successor. This soundtrack even has some tender (Barbastella) and nostalgic (Macrotus) moments in between the sturm and drang (Molussus). This OST is perfect for writing brooding Gothic tales with the occasional interruption of orchestrated violence.

Try before you buy? Why not just watch the film again and prick up your ears.

Recommended tracks: Corynorhinus, Vespertilio.

Saffron Slumber – Somnogen

I stumbled across this when I found the net label, Resting Bell
Some of the tracks are quite short for this type of experimental drone and ambient music, but the album has really grown on me. There’s a decidedly ‘just woken’ feel to much of the album, especially on Möbius Thought, which gives way to a sweet hopefulness of Onyx. The stand out track has to be the 18-minute monster Oneiric Sun, which conspires to be soothing and yet sinister as the distortion gradually increases in pitch and intensity

You can download the entire album for free HERE.


More on this subject soon, when I'll actually include some more film soundtracks.



1 comment:

  1. I can't listen to music when I write. Never have been able to, no matter what I'm writing. Or when I'm reading. Everything else? Totally fine! Reading and writing? Nope.

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